Missing Air Algerie flight found in the Sahara desert with no survivors
The wreckage of the the MD-83 aircraft was located by a column of French troops in northern Mali yesterday
Seven members of one French family are believed to be among the 118 victims of an Air Algerie flight which crashed for reasons unknown in the Sahara desert on Thursday.
The passengers also included ten members and three generations of another extended French family.
The wreckage of the the MD-83 aircraft, owned by Spanish company Swiftair, was located by a column of French troops in northern Mali yesterday. One of the two black box flight recorders was recovered.
“There are, alas, no survivors,” President François Hollande said. “I share the pain of families living through this terrible ordeal.”
Almost half the 112 passengers on the flight from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers were French citizens. Although senior French officials have not ruled out the possibility that the crash was caused by a bomb or a missile fired from the ground, severe storms are believed to be the most likely cause of the accident.
Seven members of a French family of Bukina Faso origin – a father and mother and five children aged from 20 to 7 – are said to have been aboard the plane. There were another 44 French passengers among the 118 people aboard (a revision of the original estimate of 116).
The other victims included six Spanish crew members, 24 people from Burkina Faso, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, five Canadians, four Germans and two Luxembourgers. There was one passenger each from Belgium, Cameroun, Egypt, Malia, Romania and Switzerland and three passengers whose nationality has yet to be established.
The aircraft vanished from radar screens in the early hours of Thursday morning 50 minutes into a four hour flight from Ouagadougo to Algiers. The pilots had asked air traffic control to change their route to avoid severe storms climbing to 50,000 feet above the desert.
The region where the crash happened is in a thinly populated area close to the scene of a continuing rebellion by Islamist and Tuareg militants against the Malian government. French forces have been operating in the area for more than 18 months.
Sixty French, 40 Dutch and 20 Malian soldiers from an international peace-keeping force were on their way to the crash scene yesterday. The French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that the accident happened 50 kilometres – and six hour by desert track – from the small town of Gossi, which was itself 150 kilometres from the regional capital, Gao. “As you will appreciate, this is going to be a very lengthy operation,” he said.
Earlier, President Hollande said: “There are hypotheses, notably weather-related but we don't rule out anything because we want to know what happened.”
A team from France's Accident Investigation Bureau, backed by gendarmes, has been sent to Mali. Air France planes have been ordered to avoid the area as a precaution until it is proved that a ground-to-air missile was not responsible.
The crash was the third air disaster within a week, including a Malaysia Airlines flight which is believed to have been shot down over eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists last Friday.
French media reports said that the 51 French passengers were a mixture of French citizens of Burkina Faso origin and French aid workers and businessmen based in the former French colony. The Air Algerie night flight, with connections in Algiers to several French and European citizen, was a popular, cheap option for people returning to Europe.
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
- 1 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 2 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 3 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 4 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
- 5 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
'Santa Claus' dead: John Moore starred in Coca Cola and Morrisons adverts
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...